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Featured Models and Techniques

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21st Century Town Meeting

AmericaSpeaks' 21st Century Town Meeting method creates engaging, meaningful opportunities for citizens to participate in public decision making. This unique process updates the traditional New England town meeting to address the needs of today's citizens, decision makers and democracy.

Resource Link: http://www.americaspeaks.org

Appreciative Inquiry Highly Recommended

Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is about the coevolutionary search for the best in people, their organizations, and the relevant world around them. In its broadest focus, it involves systematic discovery of what gives "life" to a living system when it is most alive, most effective, and most constructively capable in economic, ecological, and human terms. AI involves, in a central way, the art and practice of asking questions that strengthen a system's capacity to apprehend, anticipate, and heighten positive potential.

Charrettes Recently Updated Highly Recommended

Charrettes are typically a potent combination of modern design studio and town meeting, with a dash of the teamwork from an old-fashioned barnraising mixed in. Most start with a hands-on session for citizens and continue in an around-the-clock, energetic push until a plan is finished about a week later. A charrette can be a breakthrough event that helps overcome inertia and creates a meaningful master plan. Properly executed, this technique can produce a master plan that is more useful, better understood, and more quickly produced than one formed by other methods.

Resource Link: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/reports/pittd/charrett.htm

Citizen Choicework

Citizen Choicework offers a powerful, proven approach to civic dialogue and action. Too often, "community forums" are merely panels of experts telling people what's good for them. Or they are public free-for-alls, where only the loudest voices prevail. In contrast, Citizen Choicework is based on a deep respect for the public's capacity to address issues when circumstances support, rather than thwart, dialogue and deliberation. Given the right conditions, the public's ability to learn, to get involved and to make decisions is far greater than most realize.

Citizens Jury Process Highly Recommended

The Citizens Jury process is a method for gathering a microcosm of the public, having them attend five days of hearings, deliberate among themselves and then issue findings and recommendations on the issue they have discussed. No deliberative method has been more carefully designed or thoroughly tested than this method.

Civic Reflection Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Civic reflection is the practice of bringing together a group of people who are engaged in common civic work to read and talk about fundamental questions of civic life. This form of dialogue draws upon the rich resources of the humanities--using readings of literature, philosophy, and history, and the age-old practice of text-based discussion--to help civic leaders think more carefully and talk more comfortably about their values and choices.

Consensus Conference Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Consensus Conferences, developed in Denmark, are used in a variety of settings and typically involve a group of citizens with varied backgrounds who meet to discuss issues of a scientific or technical nature. The conference has two stages: the first involves small group meetings with experts to discuss the issues and work towards consensus. The second stage assembles experts, media and the public where the conferences main observations and conclusions are presented.

Conversation Café Method Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

A Conversation Café is a 90-minute hosted conversation which is held in a public setting like a coffee shop or bookstore, where anyone is welcome to join. A simple format helps people feel at ease and gives everyone who wants to a chance to speak.

Deliberative Polling Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Deliberative Polling® is an attempt to use television and public opinion research in a new and constructive way. A random, representative sample is first polled on the issues. After this baseline poll, members of the sample are invited to gather at a single place to discuss the issues. Carefully balanced briefing materials are sent to the participants and are also made publicly available.

Dynamic Facilitation Highly Recommended

Dynamic Facilitation is an energy-based way of facilitating where people address difficult issues creatively and collaboratively, achieving breakthrough results. It creates a process of talking and thinking that builds mutual respect, trust and the sense of community.

Forums Institute Policy Forums Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Over the past 10 years, the Forums Institute for Public Policy has developed Informed Contemplative Dialogue, a successful method of engaging stakeholders in not only talking about an issue, but also learning new perspectives and sharing information with others beyond the forum itself. Unlike most group gatherings whose goal is to support cohesive group effort, the goal of a Policy Forum using Informed Contemplative Dialogue is to provide participants what they need to think about an issue and to take action within their own sphere of influence.

Generative Dialogic Change

Based upon a year of research, the Generative Dialogue Project has identified a new family of approaches to global problem solving which they call "multistakeholder generative dialogic change processes." The words "generative dialogic change," mean that through dialogue--deep conversations among all relevant system actors--a greater level of understanding and awareness is developed about the problem and each actor's role in a larger system of interactions. By doing so, system actors are able to generate new alliances, collaborations, and solutions that go beyond traditional approaches.

Graphic Facilitation

According to graphic facilitator Brandy Agerbeck (www.loosetooth.com), graphic facilitation is the practice of using words and images to create a conceptual map of a conversation. A graphic facilitator is the visual, usually silent partner to the traditional, verbal facilitator, drawing a large scale image at the front of the room in real-time....

Resource Link: http://www.visualpractitioner.org

INTEGRA: A Model of Intentional Creative Dialogue & Negotiation

Developed and copyrighted by Chris Saade, the INTEGRA© model of intentional creative dialogue is comprised of a 6-step process that emphasizes heart-centered negotiation and community building. The fundamental power of INTEGRA emerges from its roots as a "heart-centered" model. The human heart is the center-point around which this process of dialogue and negotiation revolves.

National Issues Forums Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

The term "National Issues Forums" is used to refer to both a network of programs and a deliberative process. National Issues Forums (NIF) is an independent network of civic and educational groups which use "issue books" as a basis for deliberative choice work in forums based on the town meeting tradition. NIF issue books use research on the public's concerns to identify three or four options or approaches to an issue. Presenting issues in this way invites citizens to confront the conflicts among different options and avoids the usual debates in which people lash out with simplistic arguments.

Nonviolent Communication Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is a way of being and relating to one another based on the work of Dr. Marshall Rosenberg. NVC is a process that strengthens our ability to inspire compassion from others and to respond compassionately to others and ourselves. NVC guides us to reframe how we express ourselves and how we hear others by focusing our consciousness on what we are observing, feeling, needing and requesting.

Open Space Technology Process Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Open Space Technology, created by Harrison Owen, is a self-organizing practice that releases the inherent creativity and leadership in people. By inviting people to take responsibility for what they care about, Open Space establishes a marketplace of inquiry, where people offer topics they care about, reflect and learn from one another, to accomplish meaningful work. It is recognized internationally as an innovative approach to creating whole systems change and inspiring the best in human performance.

Public Conversations Project's Approach Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

PCP's mission is to foster a more inclusive, empathic and collaborative society by promoting constructive conversations and relationships among those who have differing values, world views, and positions about divisive public issues. Since 1990, PCP has convened, designed, and facilitated numerous dialogues on a variety of controversial public issues, including abortion, the environment, population and development, sexual orientation and religion, and economic difference.

Resolutionary Method Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Resolution creates covenantal relationships that are based on shared commitment to ideas, issues, values and goals. Covenant is the true source of connection meeting of both mind and heart that provides a source of the richness and fulfillment we seek. With covenants in place, results beyond expectation follow. When you start a new relationship or project, the "Resolutionary" model provides the tools to put in place a road map that reminds you of your objectives, and the route to get you there. If you're deep in conflict, it provides a Process to Resolution.

Socrates Café Method Recently Updated Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Developed by the Society for Philosophical Inquiry, Socrates Cafés take place at coffee houses, libraries, hospices, senior centers, prisons, bookstores, homeless shelters, schools and more. The Socrates Café® method of dialogue (based on Socrates' ways of facilitating learning through continuous questioning) is spontaneous yet rigorous, and inspires participants to articulate and discover their unique philosophical perspectives and worldview. The Cafés encourage participants to become more autonomous thinkers and more engaged and empathetic citizens.

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